After raising $100 million, virtual reality content startup Jaunt has been in a precarious position for a few years now. It seems like the saga has finally come to a close as the startup announced that Verizon has purchased the company’s technology.
The studio rode the wave of VR hype following Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, but after years of trying to find a business in immersive entertainment, spanning software and camera hardware, the company has spent its past year trying to sell off its VR assets while pursuing a business focused on augmented reality and what it calls the “distribution of volumetric video of humans.”
A deal with Spinview Global to purchase the company’s VR tech that was reported last year never happened, a spokesperson tells TechCrunch. Verizon is walking away with Jaunt’s technology assets here, which is inclusive of their VR tech and their newer AR efforts. It doesn’t sound like any employees are coming onboard as part of the transition, but there will be some Jaunt folks helping to bring the tech onboard for a brief period.
The company’s spokesperson opted not to comment when asked whether the startup was winding down following the deal.
Why does Verizon want these assets? Verizon Media (of which TechCrunch is apart of) already has some assets in the VR space, including the virtual reality content studio RYOT, which has been playing around with 360 content and general AR/VR content. The company’s Envrnmnt arm is basically focusing on making AR and VR apps run more efficiently on mobile, which is something Jaunt has had to be mindful of as they’ve tried to focus on broadcasters that need to deal with bandwidth strains.
We don’t have a price tag on the deal, but the startup raised $100 million from investors, including GV and Disney. In October of last year, the company laid off a “significant portion of its employees” and by the end of the year they were auctioning off office furniture.